July 28, 2006
|Lebanese Now Overwhelmingly Back Hezbollah||Palestine/Middle East|
The ferocity of Israel's onslaught in southern Lebanon and Hizbullah's stubborn battles against Israeli ground forces may be working in the militant group's favor.
"They want to shatter the myth of Israeli invincibility," says Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a leading Lebanese expert on Hizbullah. "Being victorious means not allowing Israel to achieve their aims, and so far that is the case."
Still, the intensity of the Israeli bombing campaign appears to have taken Hizbullah aback. Mahmoud Komati, the deputy head of Hizbullah's politburo told the Associated Press, "the truth is — let me say this clearly — we didn't even expect [this] response...that [Israel] would exploit this operation for this big war against us."
When Hizbullah guerrillas snatched two Israeli soldiers from across the border, it appeared to be a serious miscalculation. In the days that followed the July 12 capture, Israel unleashed its biggest offensive against Lebanon since its 1982 invasion, smashing the country's infrastructure, creating 500,000 refugees, and so far killing more than 400 civilians. [...]
In a televised address Tuesday, Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's secretary general, said the Israeli onslaught was an attempt by the US and Israel to "impose a new Middle East" in which Lebanon would be under US hegemony. [...]
The stakes are high for Hizbullah, but it seems it can count on an unprecedented swell of public support that cuts across sectarian lines. According to a poll released by the Beirut Center for Research and Information, 87 percent of Lebanese support Hizbullah's fight with Israel, a rise of 29 percent on a similar poll conducted in February. More striking, however, is the level of support for Hizbullah's resistance from non-Shiite communities. Eighty percent of Christians polled supported Hizbullah along with 80 percent of Druze and 89 percent of Sunnis.
Lebanese no longer blame Hizbullah for sparking the war by kidnapping the Israeli soldiers, but Israel and the US instead.
The latest poll by the Beirut Center found that 8 percent of Lebanese feel the US supports Lebanon, down from 38 percent in January. [...]
Ghassan Farran, a doctor and head of a local cultural organization, gazes in disbelief at the pile of smoking ruins which was once his home. Minutes earlier, an Israeli jet dropped two guided missiles into the six-story apartment block in the centre of Tyre.
"Look what America gives us, bombs and missiles," says this educated, middle-class professional. "I was never a political person and never with Hizbullah but now after this I am with Hizbullah." [Emphasis added]
The leaders of the US and Israel don't view their adversaries fully as people, so it's not all that surprising that they fail to understand that they will react like people do everywhere when their homes are bombed and their loved ones killed and maimed. If the US/Israeli aim is to create generations of people who bear us nothing but ill will, mission accomplished.
Commenter Michael pointed to this quote from former CIA analyst Tom Whipple, who usually writes on peak oil issues:
The Israelis, of course, will heartily approve the arrival of outside peacekeepers in southern Lebanon as they can turn the whole mess over to somebody else. Hezbollah, of course, will find that Jihad and martyrdom will work against peacekeepers just as well as Israelis. It is difficult to conceive the current level of conflict going on for long without dragging in some Middle East country with oil wells and then, the world will change. [Emphasis added]
There is no supply cushion in the oil markets anymore. Any disruption in the flow of Middle Eastern oil will be felt immediately and powerfully by the world's economy.
Meanwhile, the neocons here and in Israel seem determined to widen the war, to bend Syria and Iran to their will. All of this is proceeding without anyone asking us what we want, here in what used to like to think of itself as a democracy.
How can this not end badly?
If I were a Lebanese, I would think the same way. It's only sensible. And yet, the hard headed people in Washington can't seem to understand such basic common sense.
Posted by: frugal at July 28, 2006 06:43 PM
It is not as if Hezbollah did not have support before that. After Hezbollah violated Israeli sovereignty, barraged the entire northern border of Israel and kidnapped the 2 soldiers while killing eight, candies were distributed in the streets of Beirut... not excatly the sign of people who oppose this action. This recent escalation in the Middle East is going to change the rules of the game from now on. No one should expect peace anytime soon; but after this is done, Hezbollah will no longer be allowed by the Lebanese people to act from their territory. Hezbollah's latest panicing statements (see website) indicate that support at home is dropping.
Posted by: The Middle East News Addict at July 28, 2006 07:07 PM